Monthly Archives: May 2013


Corporations Are Generating So Much Cash It Is Sloshing Around

Kelley Wright at Investment Quality Trends kelley@iqtrends.com has written an interesting commentary in this issue of the newsletter.  Here are some quotes to give you a taste:

Another intent of QE was to increase employment. To that end the policy has not been as effective as unemployment has remained fairly elevated. It is curious when one considers the intellectual horsepower at the Federal Reserve, why serious studies by well-regarded academics and economists that provide empirical evidence that although monetary policy can improve general economic conditions, it cannot induce employers to hire additional labor, have largely been ignored. Apparently the primary reason employers hire additional labor is to fulfill consumer demand for their products/services. I can’t put my finger on it but I seem to remember that consumer demand is somehow tied to income, which, if I remember correctly, is somehow connected to wages.
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Due to massive deficit spending, record low interest rates and cutting costs to the bone, corporations are more lean and mean than almost any previous period and their balance sheets are absolutely pristine. Choosing not to make any large scale capital expenditures, corporations are generating so much cash it is sloshing around as in a bucket. The end result is that dividends, which are mother’s milk to us, have risen significantly, as have share repurchases.

I use the investing strategy laid out in this newsletter, but I have sent quite a few emails to Kelley Wright lambasting his comments about macro-economics.  Perhaps he has actually gotten something from my emails.

The point about QE and the employment situation is right on the mark except for his disparagement of the Fed.  The tools that “well-regarded academics and economists” say should be used to boost employment are not available for the Fed to use.  You cannot fault them for not using the tools that they do not legally have.  Fiscal stimulus is in the province of the Congress and the President.  The blame for not using the effective tools lies with the Congress and to a lesser extent with the President.

Kelley Wright may say “Apparently the primary reason employers hire additional labor is to fulfill consumer demand for their products/services.”  The way I put the lack of the unemployment level going down is usually elegantly stated as “What part of no freaking customers do you not understand?”  I’d like to have a chance to put this to one of our current Senatorial candidates, Gabriel Gomez running on the Republican ticket.

I’d also like to ask Gabriel Gomez if he thinks that giving tax breaks to  “corporations [that] are generating so much cash it is sloshing around as in a bucket” would induce them to hire more people?

Is the title of job creator appropriate for  corporations that gives jobs to 100 people so that those people can manipulate markets and raid other companies to destroy millions of jobs?  Perhaps, as a business man, Gabriel Gomez does actually know what it takes to create jobs, but I bet he didn’t make his fortune putting those ideas into practice.  What he tells us he would do in Congress doesn’t give you a lot of confidence that he actually does know.


Chinese Cyber Espionage: Don’t Believe the Hype

PC Magazine has the article Chinese Cyber Espionage: Don’t Believe the Hype.  The article touched on some scary headlines about cyber espionage reputed to be coming from the Chinese government.

These headlines are scary, and they are certainly indicative of how nations will interact in the digital age: countries will hack one another, secrets will be stolen (and likely sold). Retired Lieutenant General Harry Raduege said as much at the RSA conference this year, when he described a kind of cyber “warm war” with a few major hacks hitting the front page of newspapers from time to time. The scariest thing from all these reports is that the U.S. seems to still be coming to terms with that.

But it’s also important to take this news with some big grains of salt. The Department of Defense is facing the possibility of huge cuts while the nation wrings its hands about the deficit. In an age of sequestration, it’s a good idea to have a reason to spend billions and trillions on new and better defense programs. And with the war in Iraq over while operations in Afghanistan coming to a close, the search is on not just for future threats but also the justification for future spending.

I don’t claim  that this article is the definitive word on the subject.  Even this article says that our government is not treating the threat seriously enough.  What we have to guard against is being stampeded into taking irrational actions either on poorly thought out Defense Department/CIA/NSA spending or on punitive actions we take against countries like China on scant evidence put forth by people and groups with an ulterior motive.


The Sturbridge Progressive Front

Jacquelyn Wells has started a new blog, The Sturbridge Progressive Front.  I’ll quote the reason given for starting the blog.

Hello Everyone! I am proud to be starting up a new blog to rival the Sturbridge Tea Party. We need to fight for the common sense values we as progressives believe in on every front and that includes the internet. For the most part I have only seen the Sturbridge Tea Party and their cronies posting their opinions of what is going on in town and I was really getting to the point of utter disgust reading their vitriol. So I decided that we needed to start showing the Tea Party that there is a strong opposition to what they believe in. And this blog will be here to voice what is often the majority opinion in our town. I hope you consider joining us and our cause.

If you are a Facebook aficionado, then you can see the blog reflected on Facebook.

We’ll see how this turns out.  It’s always exciting to be at the front.


Upcoming Ed Markey Campaign Events in the Sturbridge Area

Here is an email I received from my favorite Ed Markey campaign field organizer.

Happy Memorial Day! Hope everyone enjoyed the long, holiday weekend! Now it’s time to get to work! We have 29 days to elect Ed Markey to the US Senate. We need your help to get out the vote for a true progressive voice for Massachusetts families! Here are some events coming up in your area… 
 
* * * To RSVP, for any of these events, please call Seth at 774-230-8519 or email seth@edmarkey.org
 
Webster Canvass 
Wednesday, May 29th 5:30 PM 
Meet in Burger King parking lot
 
Southbridge Canvass 
Thursday, May 30th 5:30 PM 
Meet in RMV parking lot

Webster Canvass 
Saturday, June 1st 11AM
Meet in Burger King parking lot
 
Southbridge Canvass 
Sunday, June 2nd 1PM 
Meet in RMV parking lot
 
This is going to be a close election. We need you this week to help move Ed closer to victory! Please consider joining us for one of these events!


Ed Markey Campaign Lawn Signs

October 6, 2019

Look at the date of this post – May 27, 2013. It is obsolete for the purpose of the title. I keep it on the blog for historical reasons, only.


I may be able to get lawn signs from the Ed Markey campaign as early as Wednesday.

If you would like a sign and live in the Sturbridge area, let me know by using the online request form.  It is very short notice from the time I can get the signs to the election on June 25th.  I’ll try to deliver the signs as I did for the Warren campaign.  However, if some of you will be able to pick up the signs from my house, I’ll have a better chance of delivering the signs to the people who cannot pick them up.

Given Ed’s record in the House of Representatives, I think he could be just as strong a fighter for us as Elizabeth Warren has proven to be. The two of them in the Senate might make an unbeatable pair.

After all the work we put in to get Elizabeth Warren elected to the Senate, how could we possibly think of sending someone to the Senate who will work against her? That is just one reason why we must send Ed Markey to the senate instead of his opponent.


Will The Real Pond Scum Please Stand Up – If Pond Scum Standing Up Is Even Possible

The campaign for U.S. Senator between Ed Markey and Gabriel Gomez seems to have devolved to the pond scum level.

From WBUR, we have Gomez Stands By Markey ‘Pond Scum’ Remarks.

You know, I’ve got four young kids, and they’ve got to sit there and they gotta see an ad with their dad, who served honorably — talk to anybody I served with, whether as a pilot or as a SEAL or anybody I’ve worked with — and for him to be as dirty and low, pond scum, to put me up against bin Laden, he’s gotta be called what he is.

I had never seen nor heard about the Markey ad until Gabriel Gomez started promoting it in his own ads.  I had never bothered to do any research into it, until I read about the pond scum remark today.

Here is the trail I followed to finally find the Markey ad.

Ex-SEALs slam Obama over leaks on Osama bin Laden



Dishonorable Disclosures

Remember this video when you think of the so-called scandal that Attorney General Holder is looking into reporter’s phone records to try to see who is making security leaks.


To my knowledge, neither the U.S. Government nor the Israeli Government has ever admitted to a connection with the STUXNET virus. What did the above video just do?



Meet Gabriel Gomez: Just Another Republican

Now we come to the Ed Markey ad.


Charter schools in Boston score higher on key tests

The Boston Globe has the article Charter schools in Boston score higher on key tests.  If you are not a Globe subscriber, the only text you get to see is:

Boston charter schools outperform other public schools on three popular barometers of achievement — the MCAS, the SAT, and the Advanced Placement exams — but tend to have lower four-year graduation rates, according to a study being released Wednesday.

If you read the newspaper or have full access to the site, you will see the following about half way through the article:

In Boston, there are 25 charter schools.

The study examined 3,400 students who sought admission to one of the six charter high schools in Boston between fall 2002 and 2008. (The study excluded two charter high schools that closed during that period because of low performance.)

I commented on the article which reported on a study done at MIT.

If there had been more room, the headline might have said “Charter schools score higher on key tests except for the ones that don’t”  It is convenient how two schools that would have lowered the averages for the Charter schools were taken out of the study.  Perhaps the people conducting the study and doing the statistical analysis could have excluded a similar proportion of low performing public schools from the study.

With MIT accepting huge amounts of funds to build buildings named after the infamous Koch brothers and then this story, perhaps it is  true that MIT is selling its soul to the devil in order to raise funds.  Now when MIT calls me for an alumnus donation, I just tell them to put it on the Koch brothers’ tab.


The scandals are falling apart

The Washington Post blog has the post The scandals are falling apart.  This one covers all three “scandals”.

I want to emphasize: It’s always possible that evidence could emerge that vaults one of these issues into true scandal territory. But the trend line so far is clear: The more information we get, the less these actually look like scandals.

My sentiments exactly.


Lois Lerner: ‘I have not done anything wrong’

The Washington Post has the article Lois Lerner: ‘I have not done anything wrong’

At a hearing of the House Oversight Committee Wednesday, IRS Director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner invoked her fifth amendment rights, saying she was innocent of any wrong doing.


Some comments on this article suggested firing people from the top on down.

If we are going to fire people from the top down, how about going after the Congress people who have cut $1billion from the IRS budget, then complain that the IRS is responding too slowly, then get all huffy when some people in the agency try to take shortcuts to catch up on the backlog.

The Republican fairness as far as the IRS is concerned also means that the IRS should spend equal amounts of time going over the tax returns of people earning $20,000 a year and the people and corporations earning $1,000,000,000 a year. This is the Republic method of running the IRS like a private corporation. Do all Republican private corporations spend their resources equally on places where they are likely to reap profits and places where they are unlikely to reap profits?

If you want to catch the most tax fraud for your auditing dollars, you go after the places with the highest possible tax responsibility. Especially places that earn big bucks, but pay no taxes. You might also look at organizations that are obviously political, but are claiming social welfare exemptions.

The auditors used search terms including “Tea Party” to find likely applications to concentrate on. If these and other conservative political organization related terms were the only ones they used, then this might be a scandal. Since they also investigated and denied exemption to liberal groups too, it seems unlikely that there was a political motivation here. Since Congress passed laws that said Social Welfare groups claiming tax exempt status could also do some politics, but not too much, did they expect the IRS to process these applications without asking if there were too much political activity?

So the Republican investigators of the IRS have some suspicions. When they have proof of something, then I will start to listen. Until then, it just looks like a witch hunt to me.


Gabriel Gomez’s Qualifications

I have heard Gabriel Gomez tout some of his “qualifications” to be a Senator from Massachusetts.

As a business man, he claims to know how to create jobs.  Unfortunately, he does not seem to understand that private enterprise and the federal government have two very different roles to play in the society and the economy.  We don’t want our government to do what private enterprise is supposed to do.   We also don’t want our government to  shirk the responsibilities that it alone has.

He mimics the Scott Brown meme that he is open minded and won’t judge a bill until he has a chance to read it and understand it.  While I agree that Senators should understand bills before they vote on them, I also know that if you sit back and wait for bills to come to your desk to vote on them, then you have missed the opportunity to shape the bill from the inception.  Maybe some Massachusetts residents are satisfied to send a Senator who will just sit back and pass judgment on what others propose.  I want two Senators who are in the thick of the fight to make the government do what it is supposed to do and solve the problems it is supposed to solve.  Elizabeth Warren is one of those two.  Ed Markey would be the second one.  Gabriel Gomez would partially cancel out Elizabeth Warren.

Gomez was a Navy Seal.  I bet there are lots of opportunities to go on dangerous missions once you are a Senator.  Maybe he could have hopped over to Libya to save our Ambassador.

As far as I know, Gabriel Gomez is not a lawyer, but he wants to go to the Senate to create laws.  Not being a lawyer does not disqualify him, but he does seem out of his league when compared to Ed Markey.

With the ability to get anything done in Washington hanging on whether or not we can stop the Republican filibuster machine, I just cannot understand why we would want to send to Washington a Republican Senator from Massachusetts .  I just hope that the voters of Massachusetts have enough strategic sense to see what a bad idea it is to have yet another Republican in Congress.

Perhaps Gabriel Gomez has better skills than the current crop of Republicans at misquoting other people’s emails without getting caught.  Perhaps they are so blinded by their own hubris that they cannot read straight let alone think straight.